No, the U.K. government's Net Zero plan does not include closing airports or banning public air and sea travel

By: Emilia Stankeviciute
June 14 2024

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No, the U.K. government's Net Zero plan does not include closing airports or banning public air and sea travel

Screenshots of the posts. (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

Fact-Check

The Verdict Misleading

Claims that the U.K.'s Net Zero plan includes closing airports and banning travel are from a UK FIRES proposal, not government policy.

Claim ID bf766669

Context

An image of an "Absolute Zero" roadmap is circulating on social media, allegedly showing the U.K. Government's plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

It was shared in an X post (archived here) on April 17, 2023, gathering over 130,000 views. The post claimed that "Net Zero actually plans to close airports and ban public air and sea travel."

On May 15, 2024, the image appeared on Facebook (archived here), with the caption claiming, "U.K. Gov Net Zero Plan. Please note: no holidays for you from 2030!"

Key elements of the alleged roadmap shared on social media include transitioning all new vehicles to electric by 2030, phasing out all commercial flights by closing airports, and ceasing all shipping operations by 2050. Additionally, it calls for a substantial increase in renewable energy generation and a complete phase-out of fossil fuels.

However, the graphic circulating online was produced by a U.K.-based research consortium and is not a government policy.

The "Absolute Zero" roadmap. (Source: UK FIRES)

In Fact

The "Absolute Zero" roadmap was developed in 2019 by the UK FIRES research consortium, which comprises academics from several leading universities. This roadmap serves as a research-based proposal to guide policy and behavior toward zero emissions by 2050.

While the "Absolute Zero" report does suggest significant reductions in air and sea travel to meet zero emissions targets, these recommendations are part of a research proposal. They are not mandates from the U.K. government.

The U.K. government's Net Zero plan, officially titled the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, was published in October 2021. The strategy is a part of the broader Powering Up Britain initiative, which aims to ensure that economic growth and environmental sustainability go hand in hand.

Under the current strategy, key measures for commercial flights include improving aviation efficiency, deploying sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and developing zero-emission aircraft. The plan targets at least 10 percent SAF use by 2030 and the construction of five SAF plants by 2025.

For shipping, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan aims to achieve net zero emissions in domestic maritime by phasing out new non-zero emission vessels and supporting renewable fuels. The U.K. also engages in international efforts via the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to enhance global shipping standards.

Lastly, the U.K.'s Net Zero plan includes banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and requiring all new cars to be zero-emission by 2035. To support this transition, the government is investing over £2 billion in Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure, aiming for 300,000 public charge points by 2030 and providing grants for home and public charge points.

However, this net-zero policy was published under the Conservative government, which has been in power for the last 14 years. With an upcoming general election, there is potential for a new government to implement its own energy efficiency plans, although the specifics of these plans are not yet known.

Verdict

The claim that the U.K. government's Net Zero plan includes closing airports and banning public air and sea travel is misleading. While the "Absolute Zero" roadmap suggests measures to achieve zero emissions, it is a research proposal by the UK FIRES consortium and not official government policy. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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